This week marks the start of the Couture Fashion Week schedule - but, of course, these aren't the couture shows as we know them. With usual catwalk shows on hold due to social-distancing measures, not to mention ateliers having been closed for periods of time due to the pandemic lockdown, designers were forced to think outside the box when it came to showcasing the most expensive fashion in the world this season.
Dior opted to tell its autumn/winter 2020 haute couture story by way of a beautiful fashion film, Le Mythe Dior.
"We started working on this collection during the lockdown," explains Dior artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri in our exclusive video. "Therefore we knew we couldn't do a real show, so it was very clear from the start that my reference had to be tied to the dream or fantasy world."
The resulting short film was directed by Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone whose film, Tale of Tales, is one of Chiuri's favourites. Le Mythe Dior follows the journey of a trunk - or a doll's house - filled with miniature scaled versions of full-size couture dresses. As the trunk travels through the forest it is discovered by a series of woodland nymphs, who are later seen wearing the full-sized version of the pieces.
"At the start I was a little bit scared of proposing something so unusual," Chiuri continues. "Like making a film on inanimate objects, such as the journey of a trunk, with very important historical references."
The dreamlike film also pays homage to the Théâtre de la Mode - a 1945 travelling exhibit of small-scale fashion mannequins during World War II, which saw artists and designers collaborating to create something inspiring and beautiful during a very difficult moment in time.
"These dolls were then shipped all over the world and the idea was to promote the idea that French haute couture was very much still alive," she explains. So, with that in mind, given the extraordinary circumstances in which the collection was created, "the idea at the base of it all [for this Dior film] was to try and create a real collection but as a scale model."
The Dior team created mannequins that were 40cm tall, which required an "attention to detail that was almost obsessive," explains Chiuri. Everything from the skirts to the dresses, jackets and linings were all created as if they were real haute couture garments - just a third of the size.
As they weren't able to attend a physical show this season, Dior's regular couture customers will instead have a visit from the Dior trunk, containing the miniature gowns.